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MSR Xplorer Impact Glove Reviews

Read and compare owner reviews & ratings of MSR Xplorer Impact Glove. Product specs, photos & video, pricing, and more!

Product Information

  • Retail Price ~$39.95 Shop Now
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Product Details

Hans Schmid


There is nothing like welcoming the 2015 riding season with a fresh set of riding gear. These days, it seems like EVERYONE is making gear, so choosing something that is comfortable, durable, and affordable can be a bit overwhelming. Opinions on gear vary depending on "that" person's needs, making it even more difficult to find something for yourself. Add in on-line vendors offering excellent pricing, sizing also becomes super important. Like most, I just want to order once and be happy. After a few seasons on my current gear, I was looking to upgrade to something equally as durable, but something more current. As a ThumperTalk Contributing Editor, an opportunity popped up to review a new line of off-road gear by MSR called Xplorer. Read on to find out what I learned.

Product Overview
MSR wanted to embody the heritage and quality that they are known for with the Xplorer line. This is an all new line for MSR which is geared for durability and function. Xplorer gear comes in your choice of 5 colors and I opted for the Xplorer Summit model in the Black/Orange combo. An advantage to dark color geared is that they stay looking good, even when dirty and stained. Also offered in the Xplorer line, being complimentary to their pants & jerseys is the Alterra Jacket. It's a heavy constructed off-road jacket that is built for durability, comfort and protection. I might have to try one out next.

Xplorer Summit Pants
The Pants feature a heavier 600 denier poly used for the main construction, ballistic grade fabric used in high-wear areas, and genuine leather at the inner knees. Adding to the robust construction, the pants also feature a ratchet style buckle and Velcro side adjusters for a better fit, two small zippered cargo areas with glove friendly pulls for items such as keys or a granola bar, and exhaust vents (thigh and back) for maximum air flow on those warm days. MSR offers both a over the boot and in the boot pant, I chose the in the boot option.

Xplorer Summit Jersey
The Jersey uses a Raglan cut poly mainframe that snag-resistant, Lycra micro-cuffs with thumb loop to keep the sleeves in place, and top-seam stitching for added durability. MSR also included strategically placed stretch panels for better fit and performance, a longer tail so that the jersey remains tucked in, and lightly padded elbows for added crash protection. Lastly, there are sizable ventilation panels placed along the upper arms and chest to keep you cool.

Xplorer Impact Gloves
The Gloves feature D30 knuckle padding for increased protection, a minimally padded synthetic leather palm with perforated venting holes, and silicone printing on the finger tips for increase lever feel and traction. The Velcro cuff closure is integrated and streamlined, designed not to interfere with the rider.

Like anyone, I was happy to see a box labeled from MSR on my doorstep. My ritual with new gear is to always wear it around the house for a couple hours before I take it out into the field. This is the first time that I have ever had gear arrive that I hadn't tried-on/fitted before I ordered. I am happy to share that the pants, jersey, and gloves fit EXACTLY the way that I needed them too. I have one of those body sizes that can be difficult to buy for because I always seem to be in between sizes. I ordered a size 34 pant, large jersey and medium gloves and my conclusion is that size is true.

The waist and length of the pants fit excellent and the added adjustability allowed my to fine tune it. The pants are of noticeably heavier in construction. The thigh vents are huge and run nearly the full length of the thigh. I will mention that I thought there was a bit of bulk in the knees, but I imagine the added material is needed for riders who run knee braces that are generally larger than knee pads. I currently do not ride with knee braces, just knee pads. The fit into my boots is excellent with no bunching up of excess material. To date, I can't recall a pair of in-the-boot pants that offer cargo pockets, so I see this as a awesome bonus. The cargo areas are small and compact, so nothing obtrusive. As expected, the pants have MSR branding labels, but they are not huge or bulky, unlike some of the pants that I've worn.

The jersey is comfortable and fits well. The sleeves don't have any bulkiness in the arms but the elbow pads add some noticeable stiffness in comparison to a conventional lighter jersey. The cuffs are comfortable and fit snugly, but not restrictive. The added thumb loops are different for me but they definitely provide a function. The jersey ran slim along my body but not tight and the added length of the tail was great for keeping it tucked in. I will recommend that if you use an under-the-jersey chest protector, order one size larger for more room. It will still work under the correct sized jersey, but it will be a snug fit.

The gloves fit on the snugger side but the fingers weren't too long and there was no excess material bunching up in the palm. Gloves are becoming thinner and thinner for better feel but sacrifice durability and protection. MSR decided not to follow this path. The glove offers great feel in the palm and fingers while still offering good protection along the back of the hand. The padded area between the pointer finger and thumb has an added layer for durability but doesn't not make the area any bulkier.

In the field, the gear is comfortable. With the pants, there is a noticeable stiffness due to the heavier materials, but its not restrictive. From standing to sitting and everywhere in between the pants stayed in place. Starting with the vents, all function here! With a ride in below zero weather, vents closed, the added warmth was welcomed. The pant does fit a bit snugger with the vents closed. When opening them, this allows for a good amount of air to flow in. When racing, I left them open for added cooling. The pants are warmer than some of the other lighter weight pants that I've used. When the vents are opened, they remained snug along the pant, as not to be snagged on any trail shrubbery. The small cargo pockets allow for nothing more than a set of keys, some cash, maybe a bank card or two, and a granola bar. Though you could place something as large as can of pop, I am not sure you would want to. They are placed on the higher side of the thigh so that they don't add width or bulkiness, but are low enough to not interfere with hip movements. When sitting or standing, the pants never felt restrictive or pulling. The added material/bulkiness in the knees mentioned earlier was not noticeable when riding and I didn't feel any snagging from the radiator shrouds. The pants never bunched up when moving around on the seat and balanced the line well between good seat grip and sliding around. When the pants do get wet, the leather inner knees do take a bit longer to dry due to the added durability.

The jersey felt excellent and vented well. One issue that is rarely mentioned is nipple chaffing and yes, I have sensitive nipples. Some materials offered in other jerseys can be horrible in this respect, making riding extremely uncomfortable over a long ride or race. The MSR jersey did a excellent job of not rubbing me raw. I usually run my chest protector under the jersey for this very reason, but for the race that I tested the jersey in, I chose to run it over the jersey and I was pleasantly surprised. I did try the jersey thumb loops during my casual rides and while I can appreciate what they do, I didn't race with them. They do add a bit of bulkiness to the index finger and thumb area. The jersey remained tucked in and due to the better fit, when it got wet, it didn't flap around. I really liked the fit/feel of the MSR jersey.

Gloves can be tricky to review because they have so much personal preference. It's apparent that MSR put some hard work into R&D as they preformed excellent out of the box. As mentioned before, the trend of paper thin gloves is on the upswing and MSR kicked this trend to the curb for something better. The feel is comfortable with no bulkiness, restrictiveness, or excessive warmth. Wet or dry, the gloves worked equally well. After a couple rides the gloves did loosen up a bit. Nothing annoying or adversely affecting their performance, but noticeable. After a quick run through the washing machine and rack drying, they tightened back up and have since remained this way. I really like the added protection on the back of the hand and they seem warm enough on colder riding days. The gloves really compliment and complete the package with the pants and jersey.

Pros 👍

  • Accurate sizing.
  • Good build quality & durable.
  • Flexible, functional venting.
  • Adjustable Waist.
  • Pockets.

Cons 👎

  • Knees slightly bulky.
  • Gear is on the warmer side.
  • Price.

Bottom-line :prof:
MSR must have been working over-time to create the Xplorer line. Durable and functional were at the top of their list and I think they have succeeded. At the same time, they were able to add in useful, welcomed features without sacrificing comfort, making the gear bulky feeling, or excessively hot. While colors & graphics are truly personal preference, I like more toned down pallet of the MSR gear in comparison to some of the current neon/flashy stuff out there. The gear can be used from casual trail riding, to dual-sporting, to racing and work equally well across each.I really like this gear and I will highly recommend it to anyone looking for the same requirements that I was. Well done MSR!

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